Motorway Services Online

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MOT Numbers

When the early motorways were being designed, motorway services would be referred to internally by number.

Numbers were used because engineers would look at the length of the road, and decide how many services would be needed. They would then go on to find exact locations and appropriate names.

As a result numbers would often be allocated in sets as proposed roads were analysed. They don't relate to the order the services were planned or opened. However, once we've matched the numbers to the plans, the gaps can tell us where the Unbuilt Services are.

These numbers are available in a lot of early government documentation as they were key to planning. However, credit must go to David Lawrence and his book Food On The Move, which started off our search. For the avoidance of doubt, we have since cross-referenced his book with original documentation, and predictably his numbers are spot on.

Number Eventual name Notes
1 Redbourn One of the original five. Redbourn never built, was proposed for many years. Number 1 is sometimes incorrectly assigned to Breakspears maintenance compound.
2 Toddington One of the original five.
3 Newport Pagnell One of the original five.
4 Rothersthorpe Not built until years after being allocated. One of the original five.
5 Watford Gap One of the original five.
6 Doxey Never built
7 Keele Adjacent to 6. One of the first to open
8 Sandbach Adjacent to 7. Site was reserved and later used - an example of the system working!
9 Knutsford Adjacent to 8
10 Newton-le-Willows Adjacent to 9. Never built, rarely referenced
11 Charnock Richard Adjacent to 10.
12 Broughton Never built. Would have been adjacent to 11, but details not known
13 Strensham
14 Kempshott / Newland Common Neither built. Was the number recycled?? And why not Fleet?
15 Farthing Corner
16 Lutterworth Never built
17 Leicester Forest East Adjacent to 16
18 Long Whatton Adjacent to 17. Never built
19 Trowell Adjacent to 18
20 Tibshelf Adjacent to 19. The Tibshelf we know is slightly off from this plan
21 Woodall Adjacent to 20
22 Sprotbrough Adjacent to 21 - the A1(M) here is older than the M1, so the numbering followed that route
23 Forton Next motorway to be planned after M1 to Yorkshire
24 Harborough Magna Never built
25 Corley Adjacent to 24
26 Essington DL says it is but Essington and Hilton Park were never proposed alongside. Was it Perry Barr?
27 Hilton Park
28 Wilcrick Never built. Numbered despite being in Wales
29 Aust Adjacent to 28
30 Pucklechurch Never built. Adjacent to 30
31 Frankley
32 Heston Not the original suggestion but I have evidence
33 Datchet or Warren Copse Adjacent to 32. Not clear which plan this was based on.
34 unknown Could it have been Ashes Copse or Membury?
35 unknown Leigh Delamere / Ballard's Ash would have fit
36 Chapeltown Adjacent to 21 - note the numbering gap! Allocated at different times. Never built
37 Woolley Edge Adjacent to 36
38 unknown
39 Scratchwood It was a bodged plan really
40 unknown Possibly one of the Lancashire/Cumbria services?
41 Clifton Never built. Surely that makes Southwaite 42?
45 Bolton West Note how the numbers become more sparse now. Either there were a lot of unfinished plans, or allocation became more random with numbers being left spare.
48 Birch
49 Washington This one was allocated a number quite late before opening.
50 Hartshead Moor
55 Knight's Farm Never built
61 Gordano
69 Trumps Green Never built. Odd that it should be so far from Kempshott, but then it never went to contract.
71 Woodmansterne Never built, neither was the motorway
72 Shepheard's Hurst/Gatwick Never built
84 Hensall / Exeter Look at the numbering gap - so bizarre it should double up!